On This Day In 1968...Elvis Presley Records 'If I Can Dream'

June 23, 2016

"If I Can Dream" is a song made famous by Elvis Presley…

 

'If I Can Dream' was written by Walter Earl Brown and notable for its direct quotations of Martin Luther King, Jr...The song was published by Elvis Presley's music publishing company Gladys Music, Inc…It was recorded by Presley in June 1968…two months after King's assassination…

The recording was first released to the public as the finale of Presley's '68 Comeback Special…

Although the song is not technically gospel music…

Presley performed the song with the intensity and intonations of southern gospel…

Brown was asked to write a song to replace "I'll Be Home for Christmas" as the grand finale on NBC's "Elvis" that aired June 23rd in 1968…

when Presley heard 'If I Can Dream'...

He proclaimed "I'm never going to sing another song I don't believe in…

I'm never going to make another picture I don't believe in"…

Steve Binder who produced Presley’s 1968 television comeback special has often recalled the origin of Presley’s hit If I Can Dream…

Presley and Binder were looking for a way to end the show…The two had discussed Elvis’ dismay over the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy…Binder was struck by the conversation and ordered W. Earl Brown…a songwriter working on the show…to come up with a song incorporating Presley’s concern to use as the finale to the show…So even though Presley did not write the song…his viewpoint was expressed in its composition…This enabled him to run rough shod over some of the song’s hokier lyrics when he delivered it…

When Colonel Tom Parker heard the song demonstrated by Earl Brown…he said: "This ain't Elvis' kind of song"…Elvis was also there…unbeknownst to him and he said…"I'd like to try it man"…

Earl Brown said that when Elvis recorded the song…Brown saw tears rolling down the cheeks of the three back up singers…One of them whispered to him…"Elvis has never sung with so much emotion before…He means every word"…!

 

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